Will Trump Take A Dump On Solar?

usa flag in solar cells

Will Trump destroy the US clean energy industry?

Donald Trump has won the US Presidential election.  The people of the United States of America have spoken.  They haven’t spoken very well, but they have done it.  And since they will have a guy in charge who never shuts up, they’re not likely to stop now.

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Solar energy in Texas rides into town

soalr cowboy

Yee-haw – the solar cowboys are comin’ to Texas!

Texas. Land of wide open spaces, cowboys, the Bush family, Tex-Mex food and barrels and barrels of oil. At least that’s the mental image I conjure up when I think of the state, mostly through memories of Dynasty ( the T.V show and the Republican presidents). Like all generalisations though, this is wildly inaccurate. Particularly the image of Texan energy. For there is a new power boom on the horizon as solar energy in Texas rides into town.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, companies such as First Solar, SunEdison and Recurrent Energy (a division of Canadian Solar) have staked their claims with a number of solar farms in the planning stage in and around famous oil fields in Texas. These will total around $US1 billion, according to State records. [Read more…]

Will The Tesla PowerWall let you go off grid for $3500 ?

tesla powerwall

Will the Tesla Battery lead to a stampede of people leaving the grid? Photo: Tesla

[Update: Since I wrote this post (on the day the Powerwall was announced) Tesla have added some technical details that open up the possibility of installing the Powerwall for a much lower price than this blog post estimates. But – and it’s a big but – the cheaper installation will not allow you to go off grid. More details on the alternative install option here]

 

So Tesla has just announced a 10kWh home battery pack that costs US$3,500 (AUD$4,500) . The Tesla PowerWall will mount unobtrusively on the wall of your home and store your solar energy, so you can use it at night or when the grid goes down.

Lots of twitterers are proclaiming that Renewable Energy utopia has arrived. You’d be forgiven from thinking that, thanks to Tesla founder Elon Musk, all we have to do to divorce the grid is shell out three and a half grand.

Look – I don’t want to piss on anyone’s parade. This announcement is massive in lots of ways which I’ll get to soon. But you won’t be able to go off grid for that kind of money (yet).

Here’s what Aussie homeowners should know about the Telsa Powerwall [Read more…]

Fossil fuel city flips to renewables

Texas has said “Hold ‘Em!” to the fossil fuel generators.

It’s not a surprise that the U.S. city of Georgetown has decided to go 100 percent renewable, after all solar has become an unstoppable force. What does raise eyebrows though is that Georgetown is in Texas, the state synonymous with gushing fossil fuel, the Bush family and well, more gushing fossil fuel.

Even more surprising perhaps is that the city has flipped the switch to renewables after admitting that solar and wind energy are a better financial option. [Read more…]

Researchers use photosynthesis to directly create liquid fuel from solar

leaf and solar panel

Harvard scientists are mimicking photosynthesis by converting solar electricity directly into a liquid fuel.

Solar power using photosynthesis is the most ancient — and successful — form of energy production. Plants have used this method for over a billion years, harvesting sunlight, combining it with water and turning this abundant solar energy into food. Now researchers at Harvard University are looking to use the process in a really novel way. [Read more…]

Genius Or Bonkers? US solar company glueing solar to roofs to reduce installation costs.

Innovation in solar never ceases to amaze me. But I can’t decide if this particular innovation is genius or totally nuts.

US solar panel manufacturer Lumeta Solar have announced a new 175W solar panel design that is super thin, with no frame, a junction box on top instead of underneath, and get this: double sided sticky tape on the back.  The idea is that you simply peel the backing off the tape and stick the panel to the roof.

lumeta solar panels

Lumeta Solar Panels stick on to the roof with adhesive. (Pic: Lumeta Solar)

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Australian leaders lurch further out of step on renewables

abbott and renewables

Abbott wants to stand up for poor, downtrodden, powerless coal. It’s good for humanity don’t you know. Unlike that nasty renewable stuff.

A very significant week in Australian renewable energy politics with the historic agreement between China and the United States on reducing emissions at the recent APEC summit in Beijing.

Significant for Australia because the ideological campaign against renewables (let’s call it for what it is) used to be heavily based around the fact that we were the leaders in cutting emissions while the rest of the world waited. The argument went that by taking such a leadership role, our industry was suffering. [Read more…]

David Einhorn Predicts Further Growth in SunEdison

The CEO of Greenlight Capital, David Einhorn, gave a presentation in a conference in Wall Street recently. At the Robin Hood Investors Conference, Einhorn gave offered two ideas:

1) His thesis regarding SunEdison (who bought Energy Matters just the other week), why he ranks it as the best performing solar company on the stock market and why he rates it a “Buy”.

2) Possible solutions to the current debt crisis in Greece and France (but we found the Sun Edison stuff much more interesting!)

For more information on his presentation, click here.

The Huge Companies That Rely On Commerical Solar

Whilst commercial solar systems in Australia are steadily growing in number despite pushback from many electricity networks, the USA is forging ahead with enormous commercial systems.  America’s biggest companies, like Wal*mart, Costco and Macy’s are relying on solar power to reduce their bills. Here’s a great snapshot from the Sustainable Energy Industry Association which has some seriously impressive numbers on it.

When will Australia’s biggest companies (e.g. the miners) start installing more solar to power their operations?, Perhaps when the government stops subsidising their filthy diesel to the tune of about $8bn per year?

Anyway – all I can say is way to go USA! Here’s those amazing stats:

comercial solar infographic

Source: SEIA

Solar power innovation (part two): solar power satellites

astronaut from the 60s

Image from NASA (click image to see original on Wired.com)

Last week we took the quantum leap into the inestimably small applications of solar power innovation by bringing you up to date on quantum dots and solar windows. The article was a solar squizz at how the latest developments in nano technology have brought the concept of windows as solar panels just that one tantalisingly step closer. [Read more…]